Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Great Batman: The Brave and the Bold Rewatch: "Fall of the Blue Beetle!"

Season One, Episode Eight: Fall of the Blue Beetle!
Written by James Krieg
Directed by Brandon Vietti

Plot Synopsis

Teaser:Two years ago, Batman and Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle before Jaime Reyes, the Beetle we've met in earlier episodes of this series, make their way through a villainous lair, comparing gadgets and bantering.

Episode: Jaime Reyes, Blue Beetle, and his best friend, Paco, sit around a campfire, talking about superheroes. Paco says that heroes just luck into their powers and it's the gear, like a Green Lantern ring, that makes them special. Jaime is visibly upset by this.

At a federal reserve or bank, Dr. Polaris is making off with the gold stored there when Batman arrives to stop him. Blue Beetle pops in, asking if heroes are chosen or just lucky, interfering with Batman's take down of Polaris. Beetle asks if Batman thinks he and the previous Beetle shared heroic traits, and Batman tells Beetle he's nothing like the Beetle he knew, and Beetle gets irritated that Batman never told him about the previous Beetle.

Beetle's Scarab does a search and finds that the previous Beetle was hero of Hub City, so Jaime heads there, hoping to get answers about his coonection to that Beetle, and arrives at the Kord Industries building, where the Scarab seems to go nuts and drop him into the sewer, where he finds Ted Kord's old base of operations. In the base Beetle finds Ted's Bug, his flying ship, and uses the trip log to find the last place Ted was, and decides to take the Bug to go there to try to find him. The bug flies over the ocean, and passes into a cloaking field, where an island is hidden. Batman contacts him and tried to explain why he wasn't forthcoming about the previous Beetle, but Beetle blows him off and lands on the island, where he finds Beetle robots with lasers protecting it. Beetle blows up the robots to find an angry scientist ranting that the robots are a miracle of science and how dare he blow them up. The scientist says he's Ted Kord and welcomes Jaime to Science Island

Flying over the ocean, Batman thinks to himself that he's done with kid partners, then remembers that adults aren't much better. He flashes back to an adventure with Ted Kord; the two are watching a scientist use a blowtorch on the Scarab, which Ted gave to the man to try to get it to work. When Ted confronts him, he presses a button and all the lab equipment and furniture turn into robots and attack; Batman tries to nab the scientist, but he escapes, but not before dropping the Scarab. Batman and Beetle fight robots as the flashback ends.

On Science Island, Jaime and "Ted" walk along, with "Ted" telling Jaime about his plans to make the world a better place using the power of the Scarab. Jaime asks why he was chosen to get the Scarab, and "Ted" tells him he was selected because the Scarab was sent to find someone of great virtue to be his ally. Jaime walks over to an apparatus and lets it attach to the Scarab, where its power is sent to a roomful of robots that "Ted" says will be used to farm and perform labor to make the world a better place. With that done, Jaime sets off to sleep, but not before mentioning Batman. With Jaime out of the room, "Ted" tells his robots to prepare defenses against Batman.

As Batman flies over the island, Beetle drones attack, blowing up his plane and leaving him to glide to safety as "Ted" watches, smiling. Jaime walks through the facility, and accidentally kicks over a small Beetle drone that turns out to have a machine gun in it. Now worried about he's involved with, Jaime investigates to find the Beetle drones are all heavily armed and being placed in missiles to be sent to drop them on world population centers. Jaime thinks to call Batman, but is interrupted by "Ted" in a suit of power armor.

As"Ted" is about to dispose of Jaime, Batman arrives and stops him, but is then attacked by drones, which distract him enough for "Ted" to capture Jaime and threaten him to make Batman stop. "Ted" ties the  heroes up, and tells Jaime he does intend to make the world a better place, just a better place under his rule. Batman tells Jaime that this man isn't Ted Kord, but Jarvis Kord, Ted's uncle. Batman tells Jaime Ted's origin, and how Jarvis took the Scarab and tried to use it to make an army of super androids, and finishing the flashback started earlier: Ted sabotages Jarvis's missile full of robots sent to take over Hub City, but at the cost of his own life.

The Scarab armor finishes its repairs form Jarvis's earlier attacks, and Jaime breaks free, frees Batman, and they go to stop Jarvis, but it's too late; the countdown to the missile launch has begun and can't be stopped. Jaime comes up with a plan, to use the Scarab to hack the computers and blow up the reactors that power the island, blowing up the island and the missiles before they can launch. With the island set to explode, the heroes run for the Bug, dragging Jarvis along and fighting an army of drones as they go.Batman sends Jaime on ahead, telling Jaime not to wait for him, and is nearly killed by the drones and a larger robot before Jaime uses the Bug's weaponry to destroy the robots and save Batman. They fly off, escaping the island as it explodes.

Jaime apologizes to Batman, saying his obsession with whether he was chosen or not caused the trouble. Batman tells him he was chosen, that the Scarab let him use it and not Ted but also reminds him that it's not being chosen that makes a hero, but the choices he makes. Jaime says he wants to make the right choices like Ted would have, and Batman smiles, thinking, "Spoken like a true hero."

Who's Who

Blue Beetle  (Voiced by Will Friedle)
First Comic Book Appearance: Infinite Crisis #3 (February, 2006)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode One- Rise of the Blue Beetle

Blue Beetle [Ted Kord] (Voiced by Wil Wheaton)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Captain Atom #83 (November, 1966)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Eight- Fall of the Blue Beetle!

Ted Kord was a brilliant young inventor who was convinced by his uncle, Jarvis, to help him with his experiments. When Ted learned Jarvis was using him to build an army of unbeatable robots, Ted asked for help from his old college professor, Dan Garrett, who turned out to be the superhero known as the Blue Beetle. When Garrett died defeating Jarvis, Ted took up the mantle of Blue Beetle. Ted used his ingenuity to build a whole slew of gadgets, including a non-lethal light gun and his flying bug. While he operated alone at times, Ted is best known as a member of the Justice League International and in partnership with his best friend, the time traveler Booster Gold. Ted was killed by Maxwell Lord, his former friend from the JLI, who was in fact the Black King of spy network Checkmate, and was preparing to wipe out all metahumans and aliens on Earth in the lead up to the DC Comics event Infinite Crisis, although he has appeared since in various Booster Gold time travel stories, most recently during Convergence. Ted had no super powers, although his nimble mind and genius level intellect allowed him to build all manner of technology and think his way out of many problems.

Blue Beetle [Dan Garrett] 
First Comic Book Appearance:  Mystery Men Comics #1 (August, 1939)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Eight- Fall of the Blue Beetle!

When archaeologist Dan Garrett found the tomb of mythic pharaoh Kha-Ef-Re, he grabbed the mystical scarab that the pharaoh wielded when the tomb began to collapse to save his partner, and found the scarab granted him magical powers. A mystery man for many years, working with various other heroes, although little is known of bis superhero career. He eventually retired to become a professor of archaeology, only coming out of retirement for one final adventure with his student Ted Kord, where he sacrificed himself. Garrett was a man in good shape normally, but when he said the magical word "Khaji Da' (in fact the name of the alien Scarab, which Garrett believed to be magic) he was able to access some of the Scarab's abilities to summon a costume that granted him super strength, flight, enhanced durability, and the power to fire energy blasts.

Dr. Polaris (Voiced by Lex Lang)
First Comic Book Appearance: Green Lantern #21 (June, 1963)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Eight- Fall of the Blue Beetle!

While there have been a couple of villains who have used the name Dr. Polaris, the most famous is Neal Emerson, a doctor who was obsessed with magnets. He suffered a split personality, and would often switch between the personas of Emerson and Dr. Polaris. He was a regular foe of Green Lantern and often a member of groups like the Secret Society and the Injustice Gang. Dr. Polaris's powers were based on magnetism, and he was able to manipulate magnetic fields as well as any ferrous material.

Jarvis Kord (Voiced by Tim Matheson)
First Comic Book Appearance: Blue Beetle #2 (August, 1967)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Eight- Fall of the Blue Beetle!

He's another character who is here what he is in the comics. He's Ted's uncle. He's a mad scientist. He's a jerk.

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

This episode marks the second of a loose trilogy that features the development of Jaime Reyes as a hero. The first was naturally, "Rise of the Blue Beetle!" the series premiere. The third Jaime Reyes episode is "Revenge of the Reach!" where we learn more about the origins of the Scarab.

Ted Kord rocks!I'm sorry, but that's all I have to say. Ted is one of my favorite characters in the DC Universe, another whimsical, fun hero who got the shaft in recent years, although I sometimes feel like he's been treated better after his death than he was when he was alive. I first encountered him when he was a supporting character in Birds of Prey, and back tracked to read his appearances in the classic Justice League International. He willbe a supporting cast member in the upcoming Blue Beetle series that's a part of DC's "Rebirth initiative, where he will serve as a mentor to Jaime Reyes, which I think is a great combination.

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